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Thursday, 28 August 2008

The Monthly - August 08

Here they are - this month's recommendations for you to go and track down.

Hot off the press – newly released, or pre-release – usually new music.
Re-release – newly discovered by me due to a specific reason (usually a re-release or repackaging)
New to me – not a new track, but one I’ve only just come across
Rediscovery of the month – this is just a one off track that I already know, but for some topical reason has put itself back under my nose

1. Okkervil River - Unless It's Kicks New to me
I’ve recently been introduced to Austin, TX’s Okkervil River through their Black Sheep Boy record, but this is taken from the more immediate album, The Stage Names. It’s a rip-roaring way to start August.

2. Cold War Kids - Something Is Not Right With Me Hot off the press
Cold War Kids have a great habit of giving their new music away for free and this is from their forthcoming sophomore album, Loyalty To Loyalty, and is certainly a sign of good things to come

3. Bloc Party – Mercury Hot off the press
Bloc Party’s new track is aimed straight at the dancefloor and gives two fingers to anyone trying to pigeonhole them in the indie scene – it doesn’t even have guitars in it. Singer Kele sounds as impassioned as ever and they’ve followed the Radiohead route of internet-releasing the album with little build-up.

4. Ida Maria - I Like You So Much Better When You're Naked Hot off the press
Scandinavia’s latest bonkers female pop star, this time from Norway. It’s a great little track and packs a lot into its three minutes.

5. Beyond The Wizard’s Sleeve - Get Ready To Fly Hot off the press
Another good pick from those folks who do the Rough Trade album of the month. Erol Alkan and Greg Norris are the men behind the wizard’s sleeve and this comes from their first cd release, after a year or so of limited run vinyl. Nice use of a slowed down sample of the classic bassline from Rare Earth's Get Ready on this too - did that inspire this track's title, I wonder.

6. Hail Social - Cherry-Cola Funk (STA mix) Hot off the press
DJ STA has done a fine job of remixing this track from Philadelphia’s Hail Social. It really reminds me of the likes of Stardust, Modjo or Daft Punk, where a good but unspectacular dance track is given a lift from a great vocal.

7. Roots Manuva - Do Nah Bodda Mi Hot off the press
Amazingly, Word magazine had this on their covermount CD despite it the album, Slime & Reason, not being out until September. This electro-dancehall cross proves it’s good to have him back.

8. The Streets - The Escapist Hot off the press
More free music from the internet, this time from Mike Skinner’s upcoming album. His vocals are as marmite as ever but the production is as good as you’d expect from him.

9. Coldplay - Death Will Never Conquer Hot off the press
Another free internet track!! Apparently they play this on the tour and as such have given this ditty away via their website. Incidentally, that's not Chris Martin on vocals, it's drummer Will Champion.

10. Hot Club De Paris - The Dice Just Wasn't Loaded From The Start New to me
This came out a little earlier in the summer, and is from the Liverpool band’s second album, which is sort of a concept album based around playing live. It’s a little derivative but equally has enough fresh about it to be a good find.

11. Nick Lowe - Cruel To Be Kind New to me
I know very little about this English singer-songwriter, but he’s got a witty way with words and this has got a great singalong chorus.

12. Little Jackie - The World Should Revolve Around Me Hot off the press
It’s a bit of a gamble putting this on the monthly best of, because I’ve a suspicion that Little Jackie will start to grate soon (indeed, the iTunes user reviews of her new single LOL confirm as much). But for now at least this is still a good track.

13. The Staple Singers - Long Walk To D.C. New to me
Having been introduced to this Stax group after seeing a documentary on the legendary soul label I tracked down a greatest hits. Definitely a case of being surprised at how many of their songs I knew, this one was completely new to me, and pretty damn good.

14. Kaiser Chiefs & Buena Vista Social Club - Modern Way New to me
I vaguely remember this album coming out in 2006, where Buena Vista artists did a makeover of the big rock bands of the time. I just picked it up in a sale and, despite the novelty, there are some good versions on there. And the whole project was for a good cause, climate change.

15. Edward Bostitch – Balderdash Hot off the press
This is hypnotic and given even more mystique by the only thing I could find online about them: “Edward Bostitch is two fifteen-year-olds who record their songs in a bathtub in the suburbs. Nobody really knows anything about them.”

16. The Secret Machines - Dreaming of Dreaming Hot off the press
Welcome back to Dallas’ Secret Machines, one member short now but still packing a big punch with their modern take on progpsych.

17. Shirley Ellis - The Clapping Song Rediscovery of the month
How long is it since you heard this? I’d completely forgotten about this track until the singer from St Etienne did a “best summer tracks for car journeys with your kids” list in the paper, and this popped up. It’s a bizarre little number on the surface but has got an awesome groove.

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